Ann Mascia, Founder of La Strega Buona
La Strega Buona
- "Creating balance with the beauty of nature"
If you have attended craft fairs and markets in Queens throughout the last couple of years, then you are most likely already familiar with aromatherapist Ann Mascia and her brand La Strega Buona.
Ann's expertly crafted essential oil blends, lip balms, aromatic sprays, hand sanitizers and healing creams have created quite a buzz among local residents from Astoria and Long Island City to Sunnyside and Woodside.
Now, while you won't be able to connect with Ann in-person at a neighborhood craft market, for the time being, due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions; the good news is that Ann is always available to chat over the phone or via Skype and Zoom.
And, of course, La Strega Buona's online shop is open 24/7 for your convenience!
There's little debate that we will be feeling the widespread effects of the recent Covid-19 health emergency for months, if not years to come.
Nothing in our lives will be untouched, from the way that we interact with each other, (social distancing), to our finances as well as more mundane, but enjoyable things like doing weekend brunch.
However, on a more positive note, the Coronavirus event has also made us all take a closer look at what we can do, day in and day out, to lead a healthier, more natural lifestyle. No one will be taking their health for granted any longer. That's for certain.
So, you will be happy to know that the wide array of products offered by La Strega Buona contain ingredients that are natural, plant-based and organic.
A delightful interview, Ann Mascia's warm personality and sincerity more than shined through, despite our having to connect virtually.
One of the first questions on this writer's mind was what exactly is the story behind the name La Strega Buona?
"I started the business four years ago in 2016." Ann replied." We had just returned from a year living in Rome. I wanted our children to get to know my husband's family and understand their Italian heritage. It was truly one of the best years of our lives! "
"Anyway, I wanted to come up with something that was totally original; so I combined the Italian word Strega, (witch), with Buona which means good and there you have it."
Laughing, Ann then informed Aplez.com that growing up as a child, her favorite movie was The Wizard of Oz and her fave character in the flick was, who else but Glinda!
Ann has a tremendous amount of experience in the healing arts, having been a licensed massage therapist for close to twenty-five years.
Ann received her certification for Aromatherapy just before leaving for Italy.
Never content to rest on her laurels, La Strega Buona's founder has a natural curiosity about life and is always studying and taking courses on subjects related to essential oils and aromatherapy.
"As a massage therapist I had been introduced to essential oils very early on in my career," explained Ann.
"Intrigued by what they could do I began to use them, here and there, along with my massage oils."
The blending methods that are inherent in creating these healing oils piqued Ann's creative side.
"Before I got married and gave birth to my kids, whatever free time that I had was spent attending various art classes; drawing, painting, sculpture, you name it! Working with essential oils gave me the chance to be a craft-maker and express myself. It presented me with the opportunity to help people who were suffering from different infirmities."
The brand's mission is to bring awareness of natural therapies to anyone who is interested in trying out blends and learning more about aromatherapy.
"I feel that there is a huge disconnect in this country when it comes to understanding plants as healing therapies. "firmly stated Ann.
"Thankfully, though, things seem to be getting better in that regard. Many people are not aware that many medicines today are partially derived from plant life. I was quite surprised when I discovered that fact."
Aromatherapy uses plants as a WHOLE at the forefront of the healing process. When tested in various research studies, most natural oils have been found to be extremely useful in killing viruses and fungi as well as relieving pain, helping to lessen the discomfort of allergies and reducing congestion.
"In fact," chimed in Ann," one particular oil, Lavender, (Lavendula Angustifolia), is the most researched of all the plants, which is why it is utilized so extensively, helping people to sleep better and deal with anxiety issues."
Basically, essential oils are organic compounds that are derived from plants via steam distillation, cold pressing, or alcohol extraction. The oils that are taken from delicate flowers such as roses and jasmine are processed this way because heat destroys their properties.
A good thing to remember is that essential oils are crafted outside of the traditional laboratory. So there's little to no chance of interaction with chemicals or ingredients that you'd rather not put in your body.
The essential oils and other products that Ann crafts are something that you and your entire family can feel good about using.
" I use organically-sourced suppliers for all my butter, creams and oils. I also like to purchase my supplies from small companies that adhere to ethical practices. "
" These companies maintain close working relationships with essential oil farmers who practice sustainability; replanting trees as well as NOT "over bleeding" an area of plants. "
Aplez.com was curious as to what a typical day was like for Ann, juggling her multitude of roles as a wife, mother, creator and business owner.
Ann was quick to answer that, with the advent of Covid-19, there HASN'T been what one would call a typical day in quite some time.
"Usually, though, I make sure to get in some exercise early in the morning which can consist of either a yoga session, a short jog, or walk around the neighborhood. or a seven-minute style exercise, which I usually double upon. "
"I find that the movement helps me stay focused. After a quick bite, I start attacking my to-do list, which is never-ending. I'm delighted about that since I LOVE to keep busy."
"And, of course, there's always some time set aside to work with my kids on their homework as well as engaging in fun activities."
When you shop La Strega Buona you will have a hard time deciding just which product to purchase.
Ann's prices, though, are more than affordable so, go ahead and splurge. Your family will be glad you did.
The Green Goddess Face and Body Cream is one of Ann's newest products and she is very proud of it.
"This cream is made with an infusion of herbs such as plantain, marshmallow root and calendula, which brings the healing power up a couple of notches."
"When you add in the benefits of hemp seed oil and roman chamomile, you've got a powerhouse for reducing skin irritation. This cream works best for soothing really dry skin in Winter or in the current mindset of people washing their hands all the time."
Whether you are suffering from a severe sinus infection or have to deal with constant pressure in the sinuses, then you'll want to look into the Sinus Relief Essential Oil Blend. It totally clears things up and the relief is immediate.
Another inviting option for all of you insomniacs out there is the 40 Winks Sleep and Pillow Spray. This one is Mascia family approved!
"This spray is very grounding", Ann told us. "It has a pleasing floral scent with earthy overtones. A proprietary blend of pure, unadulterated essential oils, my husband and kids all swear by it. We spray the formula on our pillows every night before turning in."
You'll also wonder how in the world you ever did without the Kid Safe Seasonal Allergy Essential Oil Blend.
"This blend has been a godsend to numerous clients including MYSELF," said Ann.
"It reduces and, in some cases, eliminates their symptoms, thereby lessening the client's reliance on over the counter allergy meds. The way it works is that certain essential oils have been shown to be histamine blockers."
"This is important because histamine causes the things that make people sneeze, have itchy, watery eyes and those annoying runny noses".
We asked Ann what she enjoyed most about being an entrepreneur and a crafter.
Being her own boss topped the list along with the satisfaction and joy she derived from helping her clients improve the quality of their life.
"On the flip side, though, my greatest challenge in owning a business is dealing with the technical side of maintaining a website as well as doing social media. But, I AM getting better at that; slowly but surely ".
One of Ann's goals for the future is to get her product line into shops throughout the city.
She is also open to doing custom blends for her clients. When shopping the La Strega Buona website, if you do not see a product that addresses an ailment or issue that's important to you, simply contact Ann and set up a consultation.
"In life, I feel that it's vital to keep your relationships strong. As with my massage therapy clientele, word of mouth has been my biggest asset in growing my brand. People who I met at craft markets over the years and purchased one or more of my products have now become some of my best friends."
"I believe that the passion that I have for my work communicates itself to others. It's like Field of Dreams; "If you build it, they will come."
Ann is now teaching virtual classes and conducting workshops on aromatherapy and essential oils on Teachable.com.
Check out her current offerings by logging on to:
Open your world to the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils. Empower yourself during these uncertain times with a more natural, holistic way to heal.
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